Sermon #39                                                          Luke Sermons


          Title:            A Certain Centurion

          Text:            Luke 7:1-10

          Subject:       The Healing of the Centurion’s Servant

          Date:            Sunday Evening – October 22, 2000

          Tape #         W-6a

          Readings:     Matthew 8:1-17

Rex Bartley and Merle Hart



          I have come here tonight to preach the gospel to you. I am bringing this message for three reasons.


1.     The Glory of God.


2.     The Instruction, Comfort, and Edification of God’s Elect (Isa. 40:1-2).


{Isaiah 40:1-2}  "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins."


3.    The Salvation of Your Souls. – I want you to know Christ. It is my prayer that the Lord God will send his word of grace to your heart, and heal you this hour of your heart’s plague, for Christ’s sake.


          I want you to open your Bibles to Luke 7. Our text tonight will be verses 1-10. Here, the Holy Spirit gives us the account of A Certain Centurion, his remarkable character, his great faith, and the healing of his sick servant by the mere will of the Lord Jesus Christ. This Roman soldier said to the Lord Jesus, “I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof…Neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.


          Is there anyone here tonight with such faith? If so, let him now pray that the Lord Jesus will “but say in a word,” that he will “but speak the word only,” and cause poor, sin-sick souls, to be healed here this hour.


Oh, blessed Son of God, speak the word of your grace and cause those here who are ready to perish forever to know the power of your omnipotent, saving grace! O Lord, send your commandment upon the earth tonight; and cause your word to run swiftly to the hearts of needy sinners! Send your word, and heal them, and deliver them from their destructions! Send out your word, and melt the hardest of hearts, as only you can! Cause your Wind, the blessed Wind of Heaven, to blow and make the waters of your grace to flow in this place this hour, for the glory of your name!


No Discrepancy


          We read Matthew’s abbreviated account of this same great miracle earlier. You may have noticed that Matthew described the event as a conversation which took place between the centurion and the Lord Jesus personally. Here, in Luke’s narrative, the Holy Spirit tells us plainly that the conversation was between the centurion’s friends and the Master, not between the centurion and the Master.


          There is no discrepancy, or contradiction between Matthew and Luke. Perhaps, Matthew simply makes the words of the centurion’s representatives to be the centurion’s own words, which is altogether appropriate (since a representative’s words are really the words of the one he represents); or it may be that the centurion first sent messengers to the Master and, afterwards, came to the Lord Jesus himself. Whatever the case may be, both Matthew and Luke wrote their narratives as honest eye witnesses, exactly as the Holy Spirit directed them.


          We will focus our attention this evening, on Luke’s narrative. So hold your Bibles open at Luke 7, and follow me through these ten verses, as I endeavor to deliver to you the message the Lord has given me.


Luke 7:1 -- "Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum."


          When he had ended all his sayings” – Our Lord, yet, had many things to teach. So he had not, strictly speaking, ended all his sayings. This refers to the sermon he had just finished preaching in the plain (Luke 6:20-49). In that sermon, our Master’s message had three main points. He taught us three great truths we will be wise to learn and remember.


1.    Those who are privileged to suffer for the gospel’s sake, those who suffer in this world for Christ’s sake, are blessed (vv. 20-26).


2.    Faith in Christ causes men and women to walk in love, love that is kind, generous and forgiving (vv. 27-38).


3.    Nothing in all the world is so dangerous to our souls as false religion (vv. 39-49).


·        If we follow blind men in spiritual matters, we will perish with them.


·        The primary concern in all things spiritual is the heart. -- If the tree is corrupt, the fruit is corrupt, no matter how good it may look to men. – If the tree is good, the fruit is good, no matter how corrupt it may appear to men.


·        Our souls must be built upon that Foundation which God himself has laid (the Lord Jesus Christ), or our house is sure to fall.


          When our Lord had finished preaching this sermon, he entered into Capernaum. He had spoken with authority. Now, he comes to Capernaum to display the efficacy of his grace.


Capernaum was exalted, elevated, and blessed above all other places (Matt. 11:23) by virtue of the fact that the Lord Jesus performed more of his miraculous works in Capernaum than anywhere else. He had already healed the nobleman’s son there (John 4). In all probability, the centurion had heard about that great work. Perhaps he had witnessed it.


Luke 7:2 -- "And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die."


          Here is a centurion, a Roman soldier who had the command of a hundred men under his authority. He was a Gentile. He was a soldier. And he was a believer. As old John Bunyan put it, “A Roman soldier was the first fruit of the Gentile world.” Here, the Holy Spirit tells us three things about this centurion’s servant.


1.    This servant was dear (held in great honor and precious) to his master. – Blessed is the servant who has such a master!


          I can never speak so powerfully as the experience of this centurion’s servant does of the great advantage and blessed privilege of living in the home of one who believes God, walks with Christ, and seeks your soul’s everlasting good.


2.    This man’s servant was sick, very sick.


          Some of you are in the same condition spiritually this servant was in physically. There is a plague, a death plague in your heart. There is a spiritual palsy in your soul. You are tormented with the fever of guilt day and night.


{Isaiah 1:5-6}  "Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. 6 From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment."


3.    The centurion’s servant was ready to die,at the very point of death.


          I wonder which of you are there, at the very point of death. What an awesome, shocking thought! Though it is now the thing most far from your mind, you may be about to breathe your last breath! What will become of your soul? If you die without Christ, you will perish forever in hell! Oh, poor, sin-sick souls, flee away to Christ! Flee from the wrath of God! Come to Christ! Take refuge in him whom the Lord God has made a Refuge of Salvation (1 Cor. 1:30).


Luke 7:3  "And when he heard of Jesus...”


          We are not told how, but somehow, this centurion “heard of Jesus!” Perhaps he had been present to hear the sermon recorded in chapter 6. Maybe he had heard the report of the gospel from someone else. How he heard is unimportant. What is important is this. – “He heard of Jesus!


          God sent his Word to him. God the Holy Spirit had given him a hearing ear, a seeing eye, and a believing heart. I have no way of knowing how much knowledge the man had; but I do know who he knew. He knew the Lord Jesus Christ, and he knew the one true and living God in him (John 17:3). In other words, he was born of God.


·        The only way any sinner can ever have eternal life is by knowing God (John 17:3).

·        The only way you can know God is in Christ (Matt. 11:27).

·        The only way you can know Christ and believe on him unto life everlasting is by the preaching of the gospel (Rom. 1:16; 10:17). – Explain The Gospel!


Luke 7:3-5  "And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: 5 For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue."


Illustration: Martha and Mary (John 11)


          This centurion was a man of remarkable character. He was a gracious, kind, generous man. His faith was that true faith which only God can give. It was “faith that worketh by love.” He was a man of blameless reputation. He was a man of such magnanimous goodness in the eyes of men that the Jews did not hesitate to declare (though it betrayed their own ignorance) that he was worthy for the Son of God to give him what he asked.


1.    He loved his servant. – Many came to the Lord Jesus seeking mercy for others. One came for a son, another for a daughter, and once four for a friend. But I read of none but this centurion who came to the Son of God seeking mercy for a servant.


2.    He loved his neighbors. – “He loveth our nation.


3.    He was devoted to the worship and service of God. He built a synagogue, a house of worship at Capernaum.


          When these Jewish leaders said, “He hath built for us a synagogue,” they were saying, -- This man has, at his own expense, by himself, built a church building and given us a place to worship the Lord our God!


          This centurion’s faith was more than creeds, confessions, and rituals. He did not merely say he believed God. He lived as one who believed God. His love was not lip love, but deed love.


          I pray for the kind of grace this man exemplified. I want to deal with people in kindness, tenderly caring for them. I pray that God will give me a hand ready to help, a heart ready to feel, and a will ready to do good to others and for others. I want to learn to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.


          Kindness is something all people recognize and appreciate. Kindness adorns and commends the doctrine of God our Savior. Kindness reflects the character of Christ. Kindness is one way to spread a little happiness in this world. Even these wretched Jewish elders (who would soon plot the murder of the Son of God) were moved by this man’s kindness. Had his servant died of his sickness, he would have enjoyed the privilege of dying in the home and under the tender care of a kind friend.


{Ephesians 4:32-5:1}  "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you…(5:1)  Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children."


Luke 7:6-7 -- "Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed."


          Here is a display of genuine humility. – “I am not worthy!” Believers know their unworthiness before God and confess it. Others may look at the child of God and applaud him for his deeds. He sees himself in another light.

·        Moses – Stammering Tongue

·        David – Who am I?

·        Mephibosheth before David – Such a Dead Dog as I Am

·        Isaiah – Woe is Me!

·        Peter – Depart from me Lord!

·        Paul – Less than the least – Chief of sinners!


          Here is a remarkable expression of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. – “Say in a word, and my servant shall be healed!” Here the centurion acknowledges what very few understood in his day and few realize tonight. He here confesses that Jesus of Nazareth is himself God almighty in human flesh! None but God himself can heal by the mere word of his power!


{Psalms 33:6}  "By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth."


{Psalms 33:9}  "For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast."


{Psalms 148:5}  "Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created."


          But there was much more to his faith than the bare acknowledgment of Christ’s eternal deity. Look at verse 8.


Luke 7:8 -- "For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it."


          The centurion asked for no sign or wonder. He simply believed God. He here declares his implicit confidence in Christ as God and confesses his faith in him as that One in whose hands all things are but clay, the mighty King of the universe, whose command rules in heaven, earth, and hell, the Monarch of all things, before whom all things (including sickness and health, life and death) are but obedient servants.


          This centurion confidently bowed to the Lord Jesus, confessing…

·        His Omniscience

·        His Omnipresence

·        His Omnipotence.


          He believed that Man who stood on the sands of Capernaum to be the sovereign Lord of heaven and earth!


Luke 7:9 -- "When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel."


          Only twice do we see the Lord Jesus marveling at something. In Mark 6:6, we are told that our Savior marveled at the unbelief of his kinsmen. Here, he marvels at the faith of a Roman centurion. What can be more marvelous than the fact that the Son of God marveled?


          In Mark 6:6, the word “marveled” implies astonishing sorrow. Here, the same word implies great admiration. Let us learn to place admiration where our Lord did, not upon the gaieties of the world  sought by men, but upon the grace of God in men. Our Lord Jesus was never impressed by a person’s possessions, position, or power, land, learning, or livery, fortune, fame, or family. But he flat out admired faith! What grace! He gives faith, and then admires the man who exercises what he has given!


Luke 7:10 -- "And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick."


          A greater miracle of healing than this is nowhere recorded in Holy Scripture. Without even seeing this centurion’s servant, without so much as the touch of his hand, or the look of his eye, our Lord restores the full vigor of health to a dying man! He speaks, and the disease departs!


·        He did not see this man; but he saw him.

·        He did not speak to him; but he spoke to him.

·        He did not touch him; but he touched him.

·        He did not come to him; but he came to him.




1.    May God give us grace, like this centurion, to believe him.


2.    May God give us grace, like this centurion, to love others, to do them good, to seek the grace and mercy of God in Christ for their souls.


3.    May God give us grace, like this centurion, to walk humbly before him, knowing and ackno       ```wledging to him our utter unworthiness of the least of his favors.


4.    May the Lord Jesus Christ be pleased to do for you who are now perishing under the wrath of God what he did for this centurion’s servant in Capernaum.


          I send you home now with this prayer to the Son of God for you. – O Lord God, my Savior, if you will but speak the word, sin-sick souls will be healed. Will you, “but say in a word” and cause the dead to live by your omnipotent grace?